Chromium - a major player in the prevention of arteriosclerosis

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Chromium is a major player in the prevention of arteriosclerosis and diabetes.
The following is from Dr John Mansfield's paper on arteriosclerosis and heart disease.

Chromium levels decline with age

Since the early 1960s chromium has been recognised as being essential to human beings. Substantial geographic and racial variations have been found in chromium concentrations reflecting probable differences in chromium ingestion in various parts of the world and chromium appears to be absolutely necessary in the maintenance of human health. There is now an exceedingly well documented paper from the Biolab Medical Unit demonstrating a marked decrease of chromium levels both in the sweat, hair and serum with age. Please see Age-related decreases in chromium levels in 51,665 hair, sweat, and serum samples from 40,872 patients--implications for the prevention of cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes mellitus.

Chromium levels can be seen to be lower in males than females from about the age of 20 onwards and there is a marked decrease in chromium levels between the ages of 45 and 65 which correlates well with the increase in coronary artery disease during those years. The study by Biolab was the result of a retrospective computer analysis of chromium levels in 51,665 samples of hair, sweat and serum from 40,872 patients according to age and sex. The numbers involved here are so enormous that very little doubt can be ascribed to these findings.

Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus have lower serum chromium than non-diabetics and chromium supplementation in diabetics has been shown to improve glucose tolerance, decrease blood cholesterol and triglycerides and increase high density lipoprotein cholesterol.

Taking chromium improves biochemistry and pathology

The aorta in patients dying of coronary artery disease has been shown in an Israeli study (American Heart Journal, 1980; 99: 604-6 see Serum Chromium in patients recent and old myocardial infarction ) to contain exceedingly little chromium, whereas the aorta of patients not dying in accidents has been shown to contain aortic chromium. Chromium supplementation has been shown to reverse arteriosclerosis in rabbits.

To test whether increased chromium intake could improve glucose control in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, Richard Anderson (Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, M.D., USA) and colleagues in the USA and China studied 180 people with Type 2 Diabetes. Patients were assigned to three groups; a placebo group, a group where the normal diet was supplemented with 100 mcg of chromium (as chromium picolinate) two times a day and a third group given 500 mcg of chromium - 2 x three times a day. All patients continued to take their normal medications. There was enormous improvement in all objective criteria in patients taking high dosage chromium, even by two months, and more markedly so by four months. (Diabetes, 1997; 46: 1786-91 - see Elevated intakes of supplemental chromium improve glucose and insulin variables in individuals with type 2 diabetes.)


Natural sugars and grains do contain substantial concentrations of chromium sufficient to facilitate the metabolism of these high carbohydrate foods. However, almost all chromium is removed during the refining process leading to the production of most of the sugars which we eat, either in the form of sucrose or glucose. Evidence from human studies links deficient or marginal chromium intake with diets high in such processed carbohydrates.

Such findings would correlate well with the observations that societies who increase their refined sugar intake have a very high incidence of coronary artery disease. While the amount of fat in the diet has not increased significantly over the past one hundred years, refined sucrose intake has increased by over a thousand percent and it is this factor which lead me, back in the 1960's, to feel very uncomfortable about the cholesterol theory.

Thus, chromium depletion is demonstrably a major factor in the formation of high serum cholesterol levels. Chromium supplementation of a previously low chromium diet decreased rat serum cholesterol levels and in males restrained the tendency of cholesterol levels to increase with advancing age. Other studies showed that elevated age dependent serum cholesterol levels in rats consuming white purified sugar. In contrast, low cholesterol levels were found in rats ingesting brown sugar or white sugar with added chromium. All these findings and countless other ones of a similar nature suggest that serum cholesterol is not a fundamental cause of coronary artery disease, but a result of other factors such as chromium deficiency, which are themselves major factors in the engendering of this disease.

Please see:

Key Points

Do the PK diet - see links below - and take Minerals - critically important if you wish to stay healthy !

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